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The 7 Steps to Digital Pathology

It’s Time: Going Digital in Pathology

“There’s nothing wrong with the microscope.”

“Our Information Systems won’t integrate with other technology.”

“Change is hard.”

These are a couple of the concerns pathologists have about digital pathology. But as they learn more, pathologists are finding that their apprehension about going digital is holding them back from reaping significant benefits. They are also discovering that old methods can’t compete against today’s digital solutions.

And even when pathologists realize that digital methods offer increased speed, accuracy, efficiency and collaboration, the evolution can seem daunting. But best practices and expert resources are available to help.

As industry leaders with the most widely adopted digital pathology solution, we know the challenges of full adoption.

Going to a digital pathology workflow offers many benefits. These are just a few:

  • Image quality and improved accuracy
  • Faster speed to results and improved workflow
  • Cost savings versus shipping slides
  • Better innovation and real-time collaboration
  • Easy access to archived slides, improved analysis and insight mining

The process of embracing digital pathology can transform an organization.

So, it is important to know the steps and how to get started.

7 Steps to Digital Pathology
1. Champion digital pathology
  • Choose both an executive sponsor and pathologist
  • Understand the benefits of digital pathology
  • Read case studies and research best practices
  • Survey barriers and high-level needs
  • Use visual management to create a new workflow
  • Compile the business case
  • Seek buy-in, get feedback
2. Define needs and goals
  • Map out a detailed new workflow
  • Initiate needs list including equipment, processes, teams/roles
  • Pilot a proof of concept test
3. Specify infrastructure and Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) needs
  • Select a project technology leader and ensure buy-in from IT
  • Determine networking, storage and security needs
  • Compare requirements to tools, budgets and timelines
  • Prioritize specifications for short and long term
4. Build workflow
  • Write a statement of work for each phase of digital conversion (image acquisition, pre-analytics, image management and analysis)
5. Configuration and training
  • Prior to full adoption, use both digital and non-digital processes. Compare, analyse and refine digital workflow
  • Offer lunch and learn, peer to peer, tutorial and other training methods for stakeholders in all locations
  • Hold on-going status meeting to determine progress and gaps
  • Recognize that full conversion takes time
6. Rollout
  • Fully convert manual processes to digital
  • Leverage benefits at full rollout volume
7. Analyze and expand applications
  • Review speed, volume, and cost improvements
  • Measure reductions in overtime and damaged slides
  • Survey customer satisfaction
  • Use more accessible data to increase collaboration
  • Gain new insights from advanced data analytics
  • Analyze the process to uncover insights. Collaborate with providers on upgrades and refinements.


Sherri’ Heffner, CT(ASCP), has held clinical and research laboratory positions at private and academic institutions and sales/marketing positions with leading laboratory and technology companies, including Aperio.

For research use only. Not for diagnostic use in diagnostic procedures.


Copyright © 2018 Leica Biosystems Imaging, Inc. All Rights Reserved. LEICA and the Leica logo are registered trademarks of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH. Aperio is a trademark of the Leica Biosystems group of companies in the USA and optionally in other countries.

18546 Rev A∙ IMC-3084-REV-A 05/2018